April 2, 2020, Thursday
Deep within every crisis is an opportunity for something beautiful-Kate McGahan
In light of the current pandemic, every government has enforced its own set of rules and guidelines regarding the various health and security measures that need to be followed in order to stem the transmission of the virus. However, this task is not an easy one since it also requires the full cooperation of the populace to be implemented.
In Kuwait, the Ministry of Health announced 25 new COVID-19 cases with one additional recovery. This brings to a total tally of 342 cases with 81 recovered cases. Six are related to travel within the latest cases, 9 had contact with confirmed cases, and ten are under investigation. Two hundred sixty-one patients are currently receiving medical treatment, while 15 are in the intensive care unit. Compared to yesterday’s report, the new number of cases decreased.
Implementing Quarantine Measures
In Kuwait City, the Director of the Municipality of Jhara Governate, Thamer Al-Mutairi, stated that 28 cafes and 129 stores in the governorate for violating the preventive measures that were put in place to prevent the spread of the virus. He also stated that 276 warnings and notices were already issued to various malls and shops to abide by the regulations set by the Ministry of Health.
In the Al-Farwaniyah Governate, the Director of the Department of Auditing and Follow-up of Municipal Services, Nassel Al-Rashidi, has already carried out field trips. This resulted in the examination of 120 stores, the partial ban of 5, and the total shut down of at least 60 more.
In a statement by Al-Qurayfah, the Director of the General Cleaning and Road Works Department of the Municipality of Jahra Governate, the field tour that was carried out by his department in various areas of the said province resulted in the issuance of 56 warnings, 11 different violations, the towing of 7 abandoned cars and scrap as well as the sterilization of 4,300 containers. In addition, the implemented surveillance freed 13 street vendor violations and editing four traffic road violations. He also encouraged the residents to voice out any complaints related to the municipality.
Kuwait’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry also released a statement saying that it closed down five shops for being unable to comply with the cautionary public health guidelines put down by the Ministry of Health. Their teams visited 249 cooperative societies, markets, malls, and local vendors in order to make sure that they operated under strict health measures as well as properly maintaining the prices of their products.
According to the Minister of State for Municipal Affairs, The Municipality of Kuwait has already closed down 462 entities nationwide for failing to comply with the precautionary public health measures set by health authorities. In a statistic released by Waleed Al-Jassem, the said officials have also closed down potential Covid-19 hotspots such as restaurants, barbershops, gyms, arcades, and makeshift wedding halls. In total, they were able to register 4,4483 warnings, 2,751 violations, and also removed 221 camps out of business.
In the Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh area, the General Authority for Manpower made more than ten arrests for residence violators of the labor law who were operating inside makeshift markets. The Undersecretary for the Employment Protection Sector, which also saw two temporary Markets in the internal roads being closed, spearheaded this prerogative.
Today marks the 22nd day of the quarantine, and I am very thankful to the Kuwaiti Government, the health authorities, and security personnel for doing their best in maintaining order in the populace and helping stem the transmission and spread of the virus. We, as citizens, should also do our part in helping them in these efforts by doling out our full cooperation in these troubling times.
Closure of Commercial Complexes
Today, the CEO of Aayan Real Estate Company and member of the Board of Directors of Real Estate Union Ibrahim Al-Awadhi released a statement affirming the severe financial difficulties that will hit the owners of commercial complexes due to its closure with regards to the pandemic. He explained further that if the prolonged crisis and closure of these properties will deal a severe blow to their assets as it will reduce the level of efficiency with which these companies are able to maintain these properties which also increases the challenges encountered by the commercial sector.
As it stands, a large portion of tenants is now calling for an exemption from the rent due to the disruption of salaries and commercial activities brought by the pandemic. Al- Awadhi also indicated the importance of the landlords keeping their tenants during this period at any cost as they would have difficulties in filling vacancies should these evictions occur.
Despite these challenges, he reaffirmed the Real Estate Union that there have already been proposals and solutions sent to His Highness the Primi Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled regarding the procedures to be undertaken in dealing with the resulting financial damages. This includes compensating real estate companies for the operating expenses of complexes, markets, hotels, and exempting real estate owners from any costs or fees for the current fiscal year such as electricity, water, and communications.
Updates on Kuwaiti Flights and Repatriation Amnesty
As of today, the country’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation stated in a press release that commercial flights coming in and out of the Kuwait City International Airport are still suspended until further notice. The suspension has been in effect since March 11. This announcement comes in light of a reminder that came on the backdrop of an international carrier, which stated that Kuwait bookings have already been opened. This has been verified and deemed false by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation.
Tomorrow, the second flight of approximately 330 undocumented Filipino immigrants residing in Kuwait will be going home and flying out of the country via Kuwait Airways. This is excellent news for those who still seek to apply for the amnesty offered by the Kuwait Government because it proves to show that they, along with the Philippine Government, are extensively working together for the good of their citizens.
COVID Update in the Philippines
In the Philippines, the Department of Health announced 227 new COVID-19 cases with eight additional deaths and one recovery. It brings to a total tally of 2,311 with 96 fatalities and 50 recovered cases. Compared to yesterday’s report, the new number of cases increased.
After meeting with the management and staff of crucial COVID-19 referral hospitals, Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III informed them that more personal protective equipment (PPEs) would be distributed to government hospitals.
Secretary Duque reassured health care workers that, aside from the initial 15,000 PPEs, some 885,000 sets are still expected to arrive as the Department of Health (DOH) continuously works with other government agencies and the private sector to transport them to the Philippines.
The Health Secretary stated that 15,000 PPEs are already being distributed day by the Office of Civil Defense as he made the rounds in the Lung Center of the Philippines, Dr. Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial Hospital, and Quezon Institute, designated COVID-19 referral centers and quarantine facilities, to engage with hospital management and health care workers and volunteers, and to assess the public health sector’s capacity to treat COVID-19 patients.
Of the initial 15,000 PPEs, the AFP Medical Center received 1,100; the East Avenue Medical Center (EAMC), 770; San Lazaro Hospital, 2,780; the Lung Center, 2,800; the Philippine General Hospital, 2,000; and the Dr. Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial Hospital (DJNRMH), 2,590.
The DOH is making arrangements for the transport of the 885,000 remaining PPEs. They are currently using a C130 plane to transport these PPEs, and one flight can accommodate 15,000 PPEs. The team is trying to arrange for a bigger aircraft to carry the PPEs to health care workers faster, and the Health Secretary expressed his willingness to collaborate with various aviation companies to better deal with the transportation.
Public Advisory by the Department of Foreign Affairs
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) recorded 448 COVID-19 cases of Filipinos abroad with 121 recoveries, fourteen fatalities, and 313 patients, who are currently undergoing treatment. Within the death tolls, they recorded ten cases from Europe, one from the Asia Pacific region, two from the Middle East, ten from Europe, and one from the Americas.
The 80 Filipinos aboard MV Diamond Princess docked in Japan who tested positive for COVID-19 have all recovered. The recent death reported was that of one of our dedicated career diplomats, Philippine Ambassador to Lebanon Bernardita “Bernie” L. Catalla.
I give my heartfelt condolences to his bereaved family, and it is with the unfortunate death of a man who worked so hard for the good of many, that we are given a stark reminder of the risks that our fellow OFW’s face abroad. The memory of our kababayan, his efforts, and sacrifice shall always be engraved in our hearts. His life and death are a testament to the Filipino spirit’s resilience and also serves as an inspiration for those of us still on this earth to strive even harder in the face of this adversity.
Magsiparito sa akin, kayong lahat na nangapapagal at nangabibigatang lubha, at kayo’y aking papagpapahingahin.
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